Solar system could have formed in the bubbles produced by a giant, long-dead star, which was 40 to 50 times the size of the sun according to Scientists in a study co-authored Nicolas Dauphas and Vikram Dwarkadas Professors at University of Chicago in the U.S. and published in the Astrophysical Journal which explains a new scenario that begins with a giant type of star called a Wolf-Rayet star.
Wolf–Rayet star known as WR 31a is located about 30000 light-years away in the constellation of Carina – The Keel. Wolf–Rayet nebula, an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other gases, is the distinctive sparkling blue bubble appearing to encircle WR 31a. The material expelled from the star can later nourish a new generation of stars and planets.
- Scientists are yet to come to a consensus about the birth story of the solar system despite many impressive discoveries humans have made about the universe.
- Prevailing theory is that the solar system formed billions of years ago near a supernova.
- According to recent study solar system was born in a shell made of material flung off a giant star.
- The new scenario begins with a giant type of star called a Wolf-Rayet star.
- Wolf-Rayet stars burn the hottest of all stars, producing tonnes of elements which are flung off the surface in an intense stellar wind.
- As the Wolf-Rayet star sheds its mass, the stellar wind ploughs through the material around it, forming a bubble structure with a dense shell.
- Shell of such a bubble is a good place to produce stars, because dust and gas become trapped inside where they can condense into stars.
- Researchers estimate that 1% to 16% of all sun-like stars could be formed in such stellar nurseries.
- The study addresses a nagging cosmic mystery about the presence of two elements in our solar system compared to the rest of the galaxy.
- Meteorites left over from the early solar system suggest there was a lot of aluminium-26.
- Studies also increasingly suggest the solar system had less of the isotope iron-60.
- This brings scientists up short, because supernovae produce both isotopes.
- It raises the question of why one was injected into the solar system and the other was not.
- This brought the scientists to Wolf-Rayet stars, which release lots of aluminium-26, but no iron-60.
- As for the fate of the giant Wolf-Rayet star, the researchers believe that its life ended long ago, likely in a supernova explosion or a direct collapse to a black hole.